It doesn't matter what type of home you purchase. Buying your own place can bring on the urge to renovate and decorate. Even if your home doesn't need a major remodel, you will need to handle some basic maintenance and repair tasks, probably sooner than you expect.
Here are 5 tips you need to know before picking up the hammer or calling the contractor.
1. Start with a Plan
One of the worst things you can do with a home improvement project is jumping in without a well thought out design and plan. Changing your tile choice or moving an appliance somewhere else can cost you money, time and patience.
Consider using design tools to conceptualize your home improvement project and add a healthy buffer of 10 - 15 percent on top of that to your final budget and renovation time to account for those inevitable surprises.
2. Be Realistic About Your Timeline and Get Ready for Inconvenience
Even with a well-designed plan, home improvements usually take longer than expected. So be prepared
Also, if you're planning a major renovation, you will be inconvenienced. You probably won't be able to use the areas under construction so figure out how to manage without those rooms for the duration.
3. Expect the Unexpected
A home renovation can bring unnoticed leaks, weird noises or faulty electrical out into the open so be prepared to do some unexpected repairs or replacements if necessary. Even the simplest of repairs can uncover a major problem that needs attention.
4. Check on Permits
Depending on your local laws, you might need to secure permits before starting any renovation projects, even if you are handling the work yourself. Contractors should offer the costs for all permits on the quoted estimate and they are usually responsible for securing permits from local offices unless you'd rather do it yourself.
Major home improvements that might require local permits include electrical and plumbing work, structural changes such as building a deck or patio and new structures like fences and windows. Check with your city hall or county building department for your municipality's specific requirements.
5. Choose the Right Contractor
Finding contractors is easy. Finding good ones who will do your project right and within budget is much trickier. One way to find someone trustworthy is to ask family and friends for their recommendations, but don't just take their word for it.
Interview the contractors yourself so you get a better idea of how they will handle your project. Be sure to get estimates from several contractors and check their references. You can also ask to see videos or photos of their most recent projects.
When done properly, home improvement projects not only add value to your home but also comfort and confidence. On the other hand, these projects can bust your wallet and end up failing miserably if you neglect to plan ahead. However, with the above tips, you help ensure your home renovation is a success.
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